The word “self” is meaningless for those who have not experienced it.
For the “normal” individual, the self is the body and the distinction represented by this body in relationship with everything else.
A name such as “Paul,” is a distinction when that name represents the label of a body. There is an inner description which creates our psychological view of ourselves based on previous experiences, and the description made by others which is determined by the type of relationship we could be in. For example, the “idea” that Paul’s parents have about Paul, is different from the preconception that someone else at work may have about Paul. Then there is the belief that Paul has about himself.
The result is that all of these interactions create a fragmentation in the personality (when we are not aware of them) different faces and attitudes to “act” upon.
We need to keep in mind that our past experiences create a set of complexes which will be modified according to the role that we need to play with others. This may translate into psychological suffering.
For example, the hierarchical view of ourselves in reference with others will change.
At work, Paul may be a supervisor. At home, Paul may be a husband who cannot use the same supervisory skills with his wife. At church, Paul is just a simple follower not a supervisor.
When we do not have the vision to accommodate according to the place and circumstance, we become “misfits,” problems for others. Nevertheless, to comply and follow with the “hierarchy” of things, brings fragmentation in our self.
It is a “catch 22” type of situation.
That is why it becomes very important to break away from these mind schemas, to be free from them. That requires someone who is not “normal.” 😉
Is it possible to become a “tabula rasa,” that is “blank being” from those diverse “personalities”?
Just like a 3-year-old baby?
When we sit for meditation, a particular mind-set will be there at the beginning. To be aware of this means to let go of that mind-set. To count your breathing up to 10 and then go back to 1 again is a good practice to get acquainted with concentration of the mind and inner awareness. Our breathing is automatic. It does not depend in a particular effort coming from the self; thus, it is helpful to experience that which is beyond the “normal” range of self.
The thought of “counting until 10” needs to go away as well as we progress. Then, we will find ourselves in a state free from thoughts but totally aware.
This is the experience.
It takes time to realize the different subtle thoughts which may appear. Their intensity will vary as well as their duration.
The length of this experience will increase as we let go of the “normal” self.
Some may call that “silence.” It is the “space” between thoughts. However, some may not experience any space between thoughts.
But, there is the experience of thinking and the absence of that. Some call that absence of thinking “emptiness.” The words differ but they are only fingers pointing to the experience.
In that experience there will not be a need to create a “mental image” about us with thoughts about “us,” for the experience of being free from thoughts is peaceful, relaxing, enjoyable even blissful and our awareness will become sharper. That experience takes away the “need” to think.
In this experience is how we start the process of peeling off the “old normal self” and its complexes, dreams, desires and such.
We will see those things appearing in the screen of our minds.
That is the time when observation could be experienced, and the origin of that observation is the “true” self unencumbered by thoughts, emotions and past hang ups.
This description is not a “recipe,” it is merely a limited experience. There may be different ways to peel the “layers of the onion,” the self. 🙂
When we let go of the “normal” self, we find the “real” self. That finding is one path to many other experiences of freedom of the self…from the self. 🙂